Sometimes, Kids Make Good Life Coaches

“Second grade is just like college, except you ride on a school bus and you have to go to bed at 8 o’clock,” Big Brother announces to his siblings, who listen attentively to his wise thoughts while sitting Indian style on his beloved blankee- a tattered old quilt spread out on the den floor.

“Second grade is very serious,” he continues. Princess raises her hand.

“Big Brother,” she interrupts,”Will I ever learn how to read books like you?”

“Um, I think so. If you keep listening and looking really hard at the words, then suddenly, you will start reading,” he says. Their little brother agrees, adding,

“In my school we just play and go to sleep.”

I call all three of them into the kitchen for breakfast.

At the table, Big Brother asks me what I do at work. Princess thinks I write stories about people, take phone calls and read newspapers all day.

“Do you get recess?” Big Brother asks.

“Well, I do. But I haven’t been taking it,” I say, pouring the Cocoa Puffs.

In my thoughts, Nanny Jo is yelling at me in her British accent. “Serving Cocoa Puffs?” she says, her hands on her hips. “Wow, You start working full-time and the next thing you know you’re feeding your kids chocolate for breakfast. You’ve totally lost your balance again and the children are suffering.” I cringe at my own reprimanding thoughts. They sure don’t look like they are suffering, as they wolf down their cereal happily.

“You don’t take recess time? Do you eat your lunch?” Big Brother asks.

“Mostly, I just eat while I’m working,” I say. “If I’m waiting for a call, or in the middle of something, I skip going out for lunch entirely.”

“You SKIP recess? That’s terrible,” Big Brother says.

“Horrible!” Princess adds, dramatically.

Meanwhile, little brother is busy seeing how many Cocoa Puffs he can stuff up his nose. He laughs. A bunch shoot out of his nostril and back into the bowl.

“No recess!” Big Brother continues. “That’s just crazy. Second graders get a break from hard math problems! Even President Obama goes out to the beaches to relax and get fish for his family, sometimes,” Big Brother says. My eyes widen.

I have no idea where he heard that one, but the kid does have a point. I need to take breaks. Just when I found balance as a stay-at-home parent, then I went back to work full-time. Now I’m all out of whack again, trying to adjust myself and transition my kids smoothly into my schedule change. As usual, I’m doing the same old things I did before to fall out of balance, like forgetting to feed myself. Plus, I’m not doing the things that keep me feeling peaceful and positive like exercising, writing just for fun and finding time to pray.

“Everybody needs recess!” Big Brother says.

This kid is so right. So today, at work, I take mine.

I can’t jog during my lunch hour because I’ll return to my desk a sweaty, stinky mess. However, I don’t have to run in work clothes, which would be a complete mistake. My grandma LaCapria taught me the value of a long, leisurely stroll. So, after I eat my lunch in the office, I change into my sneakers and go out for recess.

For me, that means I’ve got my iPod on and I’m taking a walk. I pick a direction. South is my favorite. Next thing I know, I’ve stumbled upon one of nature’s temples: The Great South Bay.

This morning, my three children took care of me like little parents. They reminded me that I, too, need recess. Nothing is so important that it warrants skipping rest, exercise, prayer and play. What was I thinking? Adulthood isn’t even half as serious as second grade.

So, here’s my new playground, just a few blocks away from work:

Post by Loren Christie

Loren is a writer living in New York with her husband and three young children. She blogs at Dude, Where Am I?

One Response to “Sometimes, Kids Make Good Life Coaches”
  1. This is great Loren – I am glad you found a nice place to take a much-needed break during the day. My kids, puppy, and deadlines have seen to it that I get little or no breaks either and that’s no good for anybody!

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